V/Line punctuality drops below 80% in February

PUNCTUALITY of Warrnambool to Melbourne train services last month was the worst for almost a year, missing the target by 12 per cent.

Most of the blame for the 79.9 per cent average punctuality has been attributed to equipment faults and hot weather.

V/Line told The Standard yesterday  31 out of 153 trains were delayed in the month.

 “Train faults were the main cause of delays in February (eight), but heat speed restrictions when we have to slow down our trains as a safety precaution also affected four services,” a spokeswoman said. 

“We had two trains delayed due to hitting cattle on the track.” 

On a positive note, the Warrnambool passenger service achieved 99.4 per cent reliability, which is three per cent above target and among the best results in the past 12 months.

A customer satisfaction survey for the final quarter of last year found V/Line train services statewide scored 77 out of 100 compared with 76 for the previous quarter. 

V/Line coaches’ scores fell from 83.6 to 80.7. 

Opposition spokesman for public transport Jill Hennessy said satisfaction ratings had dropped from 91 per cent recorded in 2010 and the blame rested with the Napthine government.

“Instead of improving public transport in regional Victoria, Denis Napthine just wants to build an $8 billion dud tunnel in the centre of Melbourne,” she said.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said overall satisfaction with every mode increased in the December quarter 2013, except for V/Line coaches.

Other V/Line performance figures for the past 12 months are:

January: reliability 96.6%, punctuality 82.2%; December: 100%, 89.4%; November: 98.8%, 87.9%; October: 100%, 91.5%; September: 98.2%, 92.1%; August 100%, 87.1%; July: 99.4%, 90.5%; June: 100%, 85.1%; May: 100%, punctuality 89%; April: 100%, punctuality 85.6%; March (2013): 100%, 71.6%; February (2013): 99.4%, 78.3%.

Meanwhile,  work is continuing on the $4.8 billion regional rail link project designed to enable more frequent and reliable train services between major regional centres and Melbourne’s west.

Dedicated regional tracks are being  built from West Werribee Junction to Deer Park and along the existing rail corridor from Sunshine to Southern Cross Station.

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